Local Regulations and Licences

Poultry, pigs and bees

Thinking of getting some chickens for your back garden? Find out about the rules you need to follow and those that apply for other animals, including cats and bees.

Photo shows two hens eating from a tray on a lawn.

The Animals and Bees Bylaw allows residents to own animals in a responsible way while minimising impacts on neighbours and protecting public health and safety. It specifies requirements for keeping animals in Palmerston North, including stock, pigs, cats, chickens and bees.

Chickens and other poultry

You may keep poultry on your property as long as they are properly housed. Your poultry house must have a rainproof roof and a floor made of solid wood, concrete or another approved material. It must be surrounded by a raised nib where a poultry run can be attached.

The poultry house and any run must be at least 2 metres from a dwelling, and from any boundary not separated by a solid fence.

You must maintain your poultry house and run in good repair, and keep it clean and free from any offensive smell, overflow or vermin.

If you let your poultry range instead of confining them to a run, you must have a secure boundary fence to keep them inside your property.

Keeping pigs

You are not allowed to keep pigs in the Palmerston North urban area, defined as anywhere zoned residential or village in the District Plan. The Animals and Bees Bylaw details the rules that apply if you want to keep pigs on rural land. These include requirements for maintaining pigsties, tanks and troughs, and storing pig food.

Bees in the urban area

Council allows you to keep bees in Palmerston North. Hive placement is important and the Council's environmental health officers will respond to complaints where bees might be causing any nuisance or danger to other residents.

The Animals and Bees Bylaw sets out the conditions you need to meet to keep bees in the urban area, including the maximum number of hives you can have.

  • Your property must be at least 500m2
  • Hives must not be closer than 1 metre to any boundary unless there is a solid fence 1.6m or taller on that boundary
  • The number of hives must not exceed the number allowed for your property area

Maximum number of hives allowed

500m2 to 700m2 2
701m2 to1000m2 4
1001m2 to 2000m2 6
2001m2 or greater


Biosecurity and food safety requirements

All beekeepers must register their hives with the Management Agency, National Foulbrood Pest Management Plan

If you want to sell your honey, you will have to comply with the Food Act 2014. See food safety rules for low-risk businesses on the Ministry for Primary Industries website.


Related Information